ANCIENT AND MODERN PERSPECTIVE
By Jayant N. Bhole. And Tanmay J. Bhole
Vāstu-puruṣa-maṇḍala (VPM) is a very significant theory put forth by Ancient Indian texts on architecture like Mayamatam, Mānasāra, ṣamarāṅgaṇa Sūtradhāra, Śilparatna, etc. The concept of Vāstupururṣa is mentioned even in many non-architectural sources also. Various versions of mythologies about Vāstupuruṣa are stated by Bṛhatsaṁhitā, Matsya Purāṇa , Agni Purāṇa, Skanda Purāṇa, and so many other purāṇas as well and Āgamas like Kāmikāgama, Suprabhedāgama and many other miscellaneous treatise.
In the present paper, first explained the three components of word VPM i.e. vāstu, puruṣa and maṇḍala, and then explained its combinations, vāstupuruṣa and vāstumaṇḍala. Having explained this and stated the mythologies about origin of vāstupuruṣa. The designe of of VPM in ancient texts is summarized. On this satisfactory base of explanation of ancient concept of VPM, then perspectives of some modern scholars and vāstuśāstra practionars are discussed.
The present article is a informative paper which aims at sating the ancient theory of VPM and new perspectives which are commenting or explaining the concept of VPM, so that the whole picture can be communicated to reader.
Vāstu-puruṣa-maṇḍāla (VPM), subject of the present paper belongs to Vāstuśāstra, ancient Indian science of architecture. In the word Vāstuśastra, śāstra means science and Vāstu is derived from root ‘Vas’ in Sanskrit language. It encompasses a range of words related to objects that are used as a surround by human beings like cloths, house and habitation (Monier- Williams dictionary). It is the place where mortals and immortals reside1. Vāstu is classified into Bhūmi (the ground), Prāsāda (temple or palace), Yāna (the conveyance) and Śayana (the coach). Bhūmi is considered as main Vastu (real thing) for it is the basic factor needed for existence. Those originated from it like dwelling places, planned sites, etc. are Vāstu (Mayamata, 2.1-3).
Vāstuśāstra addresses a wide range of applications like town-planning, temple architecture, residential architecture, painting and sculptures. The most important symbolic diagram that is used in vāstuśāstra for planning and locating a house is called Vāstu-puruṣa-maṇḍal. Here the site is represented as a human being or vāstu-puruṣa with his face down and his body occupied by various deities with different qualities. The term Vāstu-puruṣa-maṇḍal consist of three parts Vāstu, Puruṣa and Maṇḍal. Vāstu is primarily the planned site of building. Here, it is beheld in the likeness of the Puruṣa. To explore further, let us discuss the concept of Vāstupuruṣa.
Puruṣa Generally meaning ‘person’ is the word of Vedic origin and derived from the Sāṅkhya ideology, to distinguish the principle of life and consciousness from inanimate but evolving Prakrti (Lakshmi-tantra 16,15). In the traditional texts, the word signifies godhead, usually Viṣṇu. Etymologically, the meaning would be “the spirit that is hidden in the body” (puri śete), the spirit that fills the universe and makes it complete (Pratima-kosha, P.88). In the Pāñcaratra texts, Puruṣa is mentioned as one of the five ‘powers’ of godhead (pañca-sakti: pārameśṭhi, puruṣa, viśva, nivṛtti, and sarva). Purusha is the power that manifests itself as the world (jaganmayi) (cf. Nāradiya-saṁhitā, 15, 122).
Bhūmi, one of the four classifications of Vāstu, is considered main because it is the first of the elemental principles (bhūta) and a support for the existence of the world (Mayamat, 2.9). Hence, in term Vāstupuruṣa, the image of cosmic man, the puruṣa (power that manifests itself as the world), is identical to the planned site, vāstu (principle that supports for the existence of the world).
History of Vāstupuruṣa.
Vāstupuruṣa is the deity that is believed to be in control of a place un-inhabited by humans, a place, whereupon any structure is to be constructed. The Vāstupuruṣa is also the deity that is believed to protect any structure. He is the same as Vāstoṣpati mentioned in the Ṛgveda. The name of Vastospati occurs seven times in the Ṛgveda, and one hymn (7, 54) is devoted to his praise. He is there invoked to grant a favourable entry, to remove disease, to bless man and beast, to confer prosperity in cattle and horses, and always to afford protection. He is described as a destroyer of disease, who assumes all forms (Ṛgveda 7.55). He is once (Ṛgveda 7.54.2) identified with Soma, being addressed as Indu. In another verse (Ṛgveda 8.17.14) he is called a firm pillar, a cuirass of Soma-pressers, and seems to be identified with Indra. According to Geldner, Rudra is here meant, Vāstoṣpati being an epithet of that god in Taittirīya samhitā, 220.127.116.11. Though identified with various deities in the above passages, there seems no sufficient reason to suppose that the name was originally attached to any one particular greater deity as an epithet (like grhapati to Agni). The Gṛhya Sūtras ( śvalāyana, 2. 99; Śāṅkhāyana, 3.4; Pāraskara, 3.47) prescribe that Vāstoṣpati is to be propitiated when a new house is to be entered. This, together with the contents of the hymn devoted to his praise points to his having been simply a tutelary deity of the house’, as the name itself ‘Vāstoṣpati-Lord of the dwelling’ implies. According to Kramrisch (P. 45), Vāstoṣpati is but another name for Vāstupuruṣa, the puruṣa who is vāstu.
Vāstupuruṣa is to be worshipped at the construction of a new dwelling; and his figure is to be placed in the foundation at a suitable place. When the figure is to be placed at a wall, in the foundation etc., it should be shown as down-faced (adharānanaṁ). It is said that Vastupuruṣa came out for the destruction of the gods and men. The gods tried to control him and struck him variously for many years. At last Viṣṇu subdued him and also pacified him; and it was agreed that the deities springing from various parts of his body would be worshipped by people; and if anyone did not worship Vāstu the latter would devour him. After the worship of the Vāstupuruṣa various offerings are to be given to the various deities, which include Īśa, Parjanya, Jayanta, Mahendra, Ravi (Sun), Satya, Antarikṣa and the Birds (Agni Purāṇa 9.11). Brahmā named this creature ‘vāstu. (Skanda Purāṇa, 6. 132.15-28). Vāstu is said to have a special place of worship at Hāṭakeśvara, where he is said to have been installed on the third bright of the month Vaiśākha (lbid. 6.132.37-38).
Iconography of Vāstupuruṣa
The figure is described as having hands contracted (ākuñcitākāraṁ), and having the resemblance to an Asura (asurākṛtiṁ); and The Skanda Purāṇa (6.132.7-8) describes Vāstu as a terrible creature that came out of the earth in ancient times. He was fierce, having black teeth, conic ears, with hairs standing erect. Various deities are to be shown on the body of the figure; and at the eight quarters the corner-guardians are to be shown (Agni Purāṇa 93.3-6). The architectural structure is described therein in terms of the limbs of the human body, beginning with the face and ending with the feet. Adhidaivata is reflected in the assignment of deities to the limbs of this Vastu-Purusa (Ibid, 14.2-30, along with a detailed explanation) —
The above mentioned deities are also shown in the diagram of Vāstupuruṣa which is called as Vāstu-puruṣa-maṇḍala (VPM). Its shape is square.
Mythologies About Vāstu-puruṣā
1) Descent of Vāstupuruṣa
The story of descent of Vāstupuruṣa is told in many versions. Most prominent and repeated two of them are as follows:
A) Śilparatna (VII.4-29)2 tells the story as: In former times, in the war between the gods and the asuras, the asuras were destroyed; they were crushed by the gods with Purandara at their head through the greatness of the power of Viṣṇu. Their guru Bhārgava, the son of Bhṛgu, become highly incensed and sacrifices a goat with auspicious mark as an oblation in the fire. That goat became a ‘goat-headed asura’ through the sweat which fell in to the fire as he was offering oblation it rose (form the fire) covering earth and sky with its body of horrifying dimensions and asked Bhārgava “what shall I do?” Bhārgava replied to it, “Expel from heaven the gods whose minds are dull”. Thus spoken to, it rushed at the gods intimidating them with roars, and scorching the three worlds with the flames that issued from its mouth. In fear, the gods with their troops expelled (from heaven) approached Śaṁbhu (Śiva). They were completely routed by their defeat by the Bhārgava; Siva, their protector, ordered the Fire which issued from his third eye in the shape of a spirit (bhūta), to save them, “Thou should burn the cruel and over-grown goat-Asura after having crushed the Bhārgava.”
Thus spoken to, the fire chased the Bhārgava, without rest, and he fled pursued through the three worlds. He found no refuge but in Śiva. Then by the power of Yoga he made his body small and for protection, entered the body of Siva through his ear. When he reached the belly of Śiva, he saw the whole universe rested there confidently. The three eyed god, in his divine sight, saw him take shelter and without surprise he said to the sage with a smile: “Fear not, 0 Bhārgava, I am pleased with thy diplomacy. Having stayed within me you are my son; now come out at your pleasure. I have bestowed on you the great sovereignty and supremacy among the planets. In these three worlds, you shall ever regulate justice and injustice, rain and draught” Saying, so, the three-eyed (god) discharged him through the semen-passage. Thence he got the name Śukra (Semen).
Then Śukra, knowing his own desire, bowed to the Lord and submitted. “I am Contented and favoured; who is more fortunate than I; I have thus been graced with favour by the God of the gods”. To the Brahmana Śukra, the Lord said : “Ask another boon”. Śukra (now) also made the frightened goat-demon prostrate himself before Śiva and ask for protection. To the fallen demon lying like a stick, dejected, with his face to the ground, he said pleased: “I grant you protection, and also the boon which is desired by you, 0 goat”. Thus addressed by Śambhu the Asura said respectfully: “May you pardon me the evil deeds perpetrated by me through ignorance so that I may dwell on earth with the concurrence of the gods. Grant me this boon. The gods, Brahma, and the rest should be worshipped while residing in me”. Hearing this,Śiva said : “As you have asked me for a residence (vāstu), as a boon, your name will be Vāstupa (protector of `vāstu’). So be it. Reside now on earth. The gods Śatānanda (Brahmā), and the rest will be pleased to reside in you; henceforth, whosoever builds a divine or human residence, to dwell on this earth, should first worship you with flowers, incense, lights and special tribute (bali). You and the deities residing in your body should be worshipped in proper order. Prosperity comes to those who perform the worship of vāstu laid down by myself and who reside in those buildings and houses. May the temples (and palaces) and the houses (Bhavana), etc. which are built without performing the worship of vāstu, and all that is done there be demons work. Thus the (Siva) granted boons separately to Śukra and to Vāstupa, and engaged gods reside in him; and vanished thence.
B) Matsya Purāṇa (chapter 252) and some other texts narrate another version of story.3 While fighting the demon, Śiva was very much tired and begun to sweat profusely. A man was born of the drops of Śiva’s sweat. He looked very cruel. He was very hungry. So he began to make penance to appease lord Śiva and get a boon from him.
Śiva pleased with his penance and appeared before him. The devotee prayed to Śiva, “O lord, please permit me to eat away all the three worlds”. Śiva said, “let it be so”. The devotes joy knew no bounds. He got possession on al three worlds. And first he was ready to eat the terrestrial world. Then the celestial beings, Brahma, Śiva and the demons also were terrified and caught hold of devotee encircling him.
Being bound like that the devotee lay down there only. Since then he has been lying there surrounded by the celestial beings and thus he was called the god of Vāstu or Vāstupuruṣa. He was assured that, he will be known as vāstupuruṣa. He is said , “ you will tease the people to your heart’s content who construct building and temples, big wells and tanks on You may trouble anyone devour those people who construct the aforesaid buildings and temples etc. or lay foundation stone without worshipping you.
Relation of vāstu with puruṣa, the supernal or cosmic man is discussed earlier. For more understanding of VPM, let the vāstu in ‘Maṇḍala’ form be discussed.
2) Movement of Vāstupuruṣa
The Vaastu Purusha is considered to be awake when he is oriented towards the cardinal points, and is said to be asleep when oriented towards the non-cardinal points like the NE, SW, SE, and NW.
It is considered inauspicious to begin building activities during the period of Dhanu (mid-December to mid-January), Mina (mid-March to mid-April), Mithuna (mid-June to mid-July), Kanyā (mid-September to mid-October).
It is auspicious to build during the period of Meṣa (mid-April to mid-May) Vṛṣabha (mid-May to mid-June), Karka (mid-July to mid-August), Siṁha (mid-August to mid-September), Tulā (mid-October to mid-November),
Vṛścika (mid-November to mid-December), Makara (mid-January to mid-February), Kuṁbha (mid-February to mid-March).
Maṇdala, here, denotes the meaning ‘plan’. The size of the vāstumaṇḍala is of no matter. It is coterminous with the building site, or with the extent of the Prāsāda Maṇḍala denotes any closed polygon. The form of VPM is square. This is essential form. It can be converted into triangle, hexagon, octagon and circle of equal area and retain its symbolism ( Bṛhatsaṁhita, 52.56), but the prescribed shape is square. According to Kramrisch (P.22), the VPM is the plan of all architectural form of the Hindus. The site plan, the ground plan, the horizontal plan and vertical sections are regulated by its norm. Vāstumaṇḍala is laid out by the subdivision of the total square; from the Centre of the square towards its perimeter.
Basic types of Vāstumaṇḍalas
The two generally accepted Vāstu-maṇḍalas are of 64 and 81 squares. Also ‘Bṛhat Saṁhitā’ does not treat of any other plan besides those of 64 and 81 squares. But these are not the only varieties of their kind. There is a series of 32 plans. It progresses from a plan of one square to one with 1024 square subdivisions, which is having a side length of 32 units. Each of the 32 plans has its name. Maṇḍalas 1, 2, 3 and 7, 8, 9 has each their significance; the others are constructed as reductions by analogy or as amplifications of these six plans (Mayamata, 7.1-32).
The first plan, called Sakala consists of one square (pada) only. It is ordained for hermits (yati) as seat (vistara) of the priest for making a great, devouring fire for sacrifices to the Fathers, to the immortals, and so on, and for worship of the Guru ; Surya, Yama, Varuṇa and Soma are stationed in the East, South, West and North along the cord (which delimits the plot; Mayamata’, 7. 22).
The next plot, called Pecaka, consists of four equal parts; 4 types of evil spirits, Piśācas, Bhūtas, Grahas with their poison, and Rākṣasas should be worshipped there. With its homage should be joined the rites which belong to the plot of Śiva (Ibid, 7. 23).
In the third type of plan, the Pīthapāda of nine squares, the central square is occupied by Pṛthivī, and the 4 Vedas should be worshipped in the 4 directions (cf. `Śilparatna’, 6.26) surrounded on all sides by the respective divinities. This plan is an amplified Pṛthivīmaṇḍala; besides, in its construction it is parallel to those of the plan of a higher order. Here it is Pṛthivī, the earth, who holds the central square. In this, the Piṭhapāda is unique among those plans which have a central plot. The two first plans are without it.
One should go on adding one square to the two adjacent sides (Mayamata, 7.29) and by gnomonic increase, derive each subsequent plan from the preceding. Those of even numbers should be treated according to the Maṇḍuka plan of 64 squares and those of an, uneven number of squares should be laid out in accordance with the Paramaśāyika plan of 81 squares. These two plans, once more are called with and `niṣkala’
The 7th plan is of great importance in the `Vaikhānasāgama’ and other South Indian texts. The Sthaṇḍila of 49 squares has Brahma in the centre, surrounded by a triple enclosure. The border around the one square of Brahma is held by the gods, in 8 squares; the next border of 16 squares is assigned to men and the outermost border of 24 squares is occupied by Piśācas, the goblins. This triple enclosure comprising the seven times seven squares and the progression of squares from the 1 in the centre to 8 to 16 to 24 is prescribed for the immovable image of divinity (dhruvārcā.). The triple world in its hierarchy of gods, men and ghosts ensconces Brahma.
These were 7 main types of vāstumaṇḍalas, by extention of which 32 types of vāstumaṇḍalas can be created. The aforesaid points i.e. concept of vāstupuruṣa and design of vāstumaṇḍala.
The `Bṛhat Saṁhitā’ speaks of two types of diagrams under the name of VPM, one consisting of 64 equal squares (pada) and the other of 81 squares. `Hayaśirṣapañcarātra’ (8.150) lays down that the above said two diagrams are used for the construction of shrines, and of houses respectively. `Īśānaśivagurudevapaddhati’ (Pt. I.11.7 and Pt. III. 52.2) makes it clear that Vāstus on them are for worship by Brahmanas, and for worship by kings respectively. The `Kāmikāgama’ (17.107), after discerning the types sums up its position. “everything is fit for all”.
But vāstupuruṣa is more suggestively laid out in diagram of 81 squares than that of 64 squares. The plan of 64 squares is called Maṇḍuka or Bhekapada or Ajira. Maṇḍuka is generally accepted name which means frog. Bheka also means frog. Even frog is one of the meanings of Ajira. The plan of 81 squares is known by the name of Paramaśāyila in all texts. In it is expressed that vāstupuruṣa is laid to rest. Also, in Vāstuvidhāna ( 10. 1-6) it is stated that the Vāstumaṇḍala in which is situated the body of the Vastu-purusa should consist of 81 squares.
The Vāstupuruṣa, once laid on the ground, is measured out in squares, from east to west, with the course of the sun, from light to darkness. He is one and omniform. Each is divine by nature, an essence established at its proper place and has the name of a god. Space and time are its measure and form its body. It is square, similarly, each power or divinity is laid out in squares (pada). Forty-five Devateas occupy the body of the vāstupuruṣa; they cover his extent, they are his limbs and vital parts. Their number necessarily is the same in the VPM of 64 or 81 or any of the other numbers of squares; only the extent allotted to each, differs, but not their relative position in the plan.
The centre is the place of Brahma and 44 Devatas are grouped around it. The Brahmasthana, the nucleus of the maṇḍala, invariably extends over four squares in the Maṇḍuka and over nine squares in the Paramaśāyika plan.
Surrounding the immutable centre, the rule applicable to the triple rows around it is that 12 Devatas form its inner rim, the border of the Brahmasthāna, and 32 Devatas are stationed along the perimeter of the Vāstumaṇḍala and form its outer rim. The whole of the outermost row is invariably occupied by the 32 Devatas, who are therefore called Prakara Devatas or Pada Devatas; enclosing the Vāstumaṇḍala along its outline. Their number and position give their meaning and form the body of the Vāstupuruṣa. The plots which are assigned to the various divinities are not of equal size, in the various plans. 45 entities are accommodated variously in 64 or 81 units.
The number of the 32 marginal gods is also fixed. It allows one square to each of the marginal gods in the plan of 81 units, whereas a division by the main diagonals, of the squares situated in the corners meets the contingency of distributing 32 in 28, by halving the squares along the diagonals, in the corners. The number of squares assigned to the various divinities varies in the different plans.
The centre, the place of the unconditioned Brahman, is represented by Brahmā, the Regent of that place. Of the 12 inner divinities Aryaman, Vivasvān, Mitra and Mahīdhara are assigned large plots, on the four sides of the Brahmasthāna, beginning from the East; whereas pairs of divinities, Savitṛ and Savitā, Indra and Indrajaya, Rudra and Rudrajaya’, pa and pavatsa reside at the corner squares, or their halves from the south-east corner onward.
The Padadevatās, the divinities stationed all round the perimeter (Śilparatna’, 6.36), are led by the warders of the four regions of space, the Lokapālas: Mahendra in the east, Yama in the south, Varuṇa in the west and Soma in the north (Sāyaṇa on AV. 1.31.1). They are stationed in the middle of each side whereas the corners are occupied by the regents of the intermediate directions.
Īśāna is stationed in the north-east, the most auspicious of the intermediate regions and Parjanya is adjacent to Īśāna in the east, Jayanta and Mahendra, the Lokapala of the east, and next to him ditya, who is Surya, the Sun-god, Lord of Planets. Satya, who is stationed next to him, is Dharma (`Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra’, 14.1); his son is Kama, Desire placed under the name of Bhṛśa (Ibid. 14.16-17) to the right of Dharma. Antariksa, the mid-region, occupies the next position.
The south-east corner is the place of Vāyu ; The South is the region of the ancestors. The door to their world is in the south-east (Śatapatha Brāhamaṇ, 18.104.22.168; 22.214.171.124, etc.). The gods in the south are led by Yama the Lokapala, the son of Vivasvān. He is placed by the side of Vivasvān. He is flanked by divinities associated with the Ancestors (pitṛ) and by divinities of evil portent. Nearest to the south-east corner, is Pūṣan. Death is introduced by Pūṣan. At the end of the southern quarter, in the south-west reside the Pitṛs, the Fathers or Nirṛti. Between Pūṣan and Nirṛti, yama is flanked by Vitatha who is Adharma, Bhṛṅgarāja. Bṛhatakṣata who is Budha (Mercury), and Gandharva who is Nārada. Mrga (Capricornus), the solstitial door of winter.
Varuna, the son of Aditi (Ṛgveda.10.72.8), is the protector of the West. Among the acolytes of Varuna, Śoṣaṇa, ‘Drying up’, and Pāpayakṣman, Consumption, are constant evils. The afflictions that proceed from his inauspicious aspect go as far as the north-west corner, where Roga is stationed ; he is Disease, the Shortener of life. Dauvārika, the gate-keeper and Puṣpadanta are stationed on either side of Sūgriva,Whereas next to Varuṇa, Asura is stationed.
The North of the Vastu is protected by Soma, who is the Lord of Naksatras . Ahi, who is Vāsuki, and Argala who is Bhujaga having cast their skin ; Bhallaṭa and Bhujaṅga are flanked by Mukhya on the one side and by Aditi and Diti on the other. Mukhya is Viśvakarman, the maker of all form.
This was the account of basic concept of VPM with references of ancient Indian texts commenting of vāstuśāstra. Let us now see the perspectives of modern scholars about explanation of the same.
Figure 1, 2 and 3: Courtesy, The Hindu Temple P. 86, 87 and 88 respectively.
Modern perspectives on VPM.
There are many scholars all over the world who are trying to explore through the concepr of VPM by various perspectives. VPM is studied through ecological, environmental, anatomical, bio- energetic and many other perspectives. I am trying to put forth the views of some scholars here which are as follows:
1) Jayadevi Venugopal studies VPM as a human ecologic framework. According to her, VPM is a diagram that establishes a relationship between human and environment. Human ecology means the organization of space, time, meaning and communication. She tries to identify aspects of space, time, meaning and communication in VPM. She says that VPM illustrates space and time as inseparable and coterminous entities. The spatial aspect of VPM is defined by the placement of sun, definition of directions and the institution of proportions. The path of sun, plotted as aspects of the divinities, represents diurnal time and also dismantles different effects of sun as a spatial determinant.
Accortding to her, the tangible forms are then credited with meanings as symbolic deities. For example the deity in the north-east corner is ‘Isanan’ who is the God of creation. Isanan is one of the Vedic Gods. Isanan is generally regarded with positive qualities which imply meanings like open, light, receptive and interactive etc to the spaces constructed in the north east corner of a plot. Similarly, the south west is deity is ‘Nirurthi’ who is the controller of destruction, decomposition and exit from life. The meanings assigned to Nirurthi are heavy, closed, clean, resting and seclusion etc. These meanings are now morphed into living environments to produce human interactions or communications. For example, entrance and living room towards east and north, kitchen facing east, water source in the north east, bedrooms in the south and west and so on.
Human ecology is much more complex in the current state of our planet than at the time of the development of VPM. Various concepts have emerged from the study of the relationship of human and environment. Livability is one such concept. It is particularly important for the growing number of high-density developments in compact cities. A recent effort to understand the livability in high-density housing was initiated in Australia by the Centre for subtropical design, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. Later a set of guidelines where developed to assist various stakeholders such as residents, building managers, designers and developers to achieve high livability standards in high-density living environments. 5 parallel guidelines between VPM and the livability guidelines developed by the research mentioned above. This table given below is presented here to demonstrate the potential of VPM to act as a global framework for designing living environments.
The idea of a symbolic deity representing different but connected social and environmental attributes seems to be a comprehensive way to perceive human ecology.
2) Ar. Sashikala Ananth, interpreted the myth about origin of vāstupuruṣa as: the energy comes from cosmic space and manifests itself as the contained energy within material phenomena. The cosmic energy manifests itself as a phenomenon after moving through a series of transformation – ether, air, fire, water and earth. Hence the built space is created according to the impulses of the earth, in consonance with the waking and slumber of the earthly energy.
She further says that, the energy and form of both the land and the building: The cosmic being or Puruṣa becomes the visible world of reality and in so doing replicates the cosmic order on the earth. It becomes the Vāstupuruṣa or the earth-being. Vāstupuruṣa is the body on which every aspect of human activity is carried out. Whether we build a house, a factory, school, well, compound wall, tank or play ground, we are placing it upon the sacred body of the cosmic being that has come to reside with us. Every part of his body is sacred, with energies and characteristics that add to and enhance our life on earth. Therefore it is to him we bow in gratitude when we start upon any endeavour.
3) Here is one more inetersting theory put forth by a modern scholar Mr. Sreenivas Rao. He connects the VPM with 7 Cakras of human body n tries to explain its significance. His explaination is as follows:
The South West corner (naiṛutya) where the vāstupuruṣa has his legs corresponds to the Mūlādhāra chakra and denotes the earth principle. Just as the legs support the weight of the body, the base (adhiṣṭhāna) for the mūlādhāra should be stable and strong. Accordingly, the South West portion of the building is the load bearing area; and should be strong enough to support heavy weights. Just as the feet are warm, the South West cell represents warmth and heat; even according to the atmospheric cycles the South West region receives comparatively more heat.
Svādhiṣṭhāna cakra is in the lower stomach region near the kidneys. It is related to water principle (apa). On the VPM; it is to the South and to the West .Therefore the wet areas like bathroom etc are recommended in the south or in the west portions of the building. It is for sewerage.
Maṇipūra Cakra is at the navel; and relates to energy or fire or tejas. While in the womb of the mother, the fetus is fed with the essence of food and energy through the umbilical cord connected with its navel. VPM shows Brahma at the navel of the vāstupuruṣa. It is left open and unoccupied. The central portion of the building is to be kept open. It is believed that vāstupuruṣa breaths through this open area.
Anāhata cakra is near the heart. It is related to vāyu (air) regulated by lungs. The lung region of the vāstupuruṣa should be airy.
Viśuddhi cakra is near the throat from where the sounds come out and reverberate in space. This region represents Space ( kāśa). The echo of that sound vibrates in hallow of the bone-box of the head and in the space in brain. The head of vāstupuruṣa is in the North East corner (Īśānya).
The jñā cakra is between the eyebrows. .This direction is related to open spaces ( kāśa). Atmospherically, North East is cooler; and so should be ones head. The pūjā room is recommended in the North east portion of the house.
The limbs of vāstupuruṣa, other than the above are also related to the construction of the building. Liver (yakṛt) is towards South East. The cooking area is recommended in South East, because it is related to Agni. The rays of sun reach here first and cleanse the atmosphere.
The North West, (vāyavya) is presided over by air. The Organs like spleen, rectum of the Vastu Purusha fall in this portion. The store room is recommended here; perhaps because the spleen in the body does the work of storing and restoring blood.
4) Sahasrabudhe tries to relate Modern Science and VPM by identifying the significance of deities associated with definite directions in a VPM in terms of modem science. According to him, for VPM the following topics are very significant -flow characteristics of solar energy, geomagnetic flux, thermal variations disturbing the electromagnetic flux lines, vector analysis of two important energy fields relative to position of the sun, sub-atomic particles, thought and consciousness as energy fields, waves and vibrations. There are two important ideas in understanding the relevance of solar energy and geomagnetic energy for a Vāstu. The first concept is based on vector analysis of the ever-changing directional solar energy field as imposed on steady North-South geomagnetic flux. The second concept tries to understand the relationship between electromagnetic flux and movement of sub-atomic particles.
He says that, the geomagnetic flux is termed as Jaivika Urjā (organic energy) in ancient Indian texts. This force field helps in locating the energy medians in living beings and providing them with natural orientation. This eternal unidirectional flow defines, directs and propagates the existence at cellular level. The solar energy flux keeps on changing as per the position of the sun relative to the earth. This force field with photon quanta as energy packets is classically termed Prāṇika Urjā.
In VPM, deities are identified with the positive or negative confluence of these fluxes in relation to changing position of the sun. The symbolic nomenclatures, the deities, their spheres of influence as related to virtues and vices are self-explanatory.
The positive confluence is termed as Prīti-Saṅgama, implying that two streams have merged into one, and are flowing forward to reinforce the dynamic characteristic of each flow in the direction of propagation. During the night, the sun is in the North zone with respect to the earth, creating the right conditions for Prīti-Saṅgama. In VPM, the deities associated with the North zone – Pavana, Soma, and Īśā represent all the bliss and contentment in Nature. Prāṇika Uijā or solar flux represents dynamic ever-changing vector field that moves through 360 degrees in relation to the earth while the flow of Jaivika Urjā is unidirectional in ever-fixed North-South vector field. Wherever friendship, unification or reinforcement of Jaivika Urjā and Prāṇika Urjā take shape, life finds heavenly bliss. Oneness of Prāṇa and Jīva is termed as life. There lies the significance of Pavana, Soma, and Īśa being identified as deities of the North zone.In the same way he explains that in Southeast and Southwest zones Prāṇika Urjā and Jaivika Urjā work against each other, hence in VPM this battlefield is defined through the three deities – Agni, Yama, and Narṛuti.
In vector analysis of these forces with respect to the earth’s self-rotating motion, the Northeast represents Ugama (source) of the unified energies and the Southwest represents Anta (sink) of all the energies.
Sahasrabudhe concludes, “Quantum mechanics states that energy is available in quanta or specific energy packets only. Energy field can have positive or negative potential depending on the characteristics of the interacting matter. As far as processes taking place in bio-sphere are concerned, positive energy form is the one that motivates propagates, enhances and blesses life. Negative form id associated with processes that impede, destroy or annihilate life. VPM symbolically represents this amalgamation of good and bad in life and charts the path that can avoid vices and reinforce the virtuous qualities.
Various views are presented in here about VPM. The exact and perfect explanation of VPM in modern scientific terms is yet to come forth. Many people are studying this topic. Many other are trying to apply the concept of VPM in various situations to get more and more perfection in utilization of space in modern architecture. The full potential of this diagram is yet to be developed for the current state of living. But it is clear that there is much scope for further research on the vāstu-puruṣa-maṇḍala.
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